Sunday, February 17, 2013

To humidify or not to humidify...

       He's cute right?!?

It's a pretty loaded question-at least to me it has been.  I've been in charge of at least one little person for three and a half years, and I still don't know about humidifies.  Humidifier vs. vaporizer?  When it's too hot or too cold?  Hot mist or cool mist?  High tech or low tech?  On and on and on.  I've bought and return, eyed and forgotten...and I still don't know!  So, here's some research on the topic...

First of all, what is the purpose of a humidifier or a vaporizer?  

Humidifiers and vaporizers relieve congestion, which can be a symptom of a cold or the flu.  The added moisture in the air will also moisturize the nasal passage which helps thin the mucous which allows better breathing and better passage of the mucous (I guess I should be thankful for runny noses...)

So what's the difference between a vaporizer and a humidifier? 

A vaporizer, also known as a warm mist humidifier, emits a warm mist.  Medications can be added to these versions.  The con to this type of humidifier is that it does get hot, and therefore poses a burn risk; there is also a fire risk due to the types of surfaces the warm mist humidifier could be placed on.  The National Institutes of Health recommend  that a house with children opt for a cool mist humidifier instead. 

A cool mist humidifier, emits (wait for it....) cool water!  It does not have the burn risks or fire risks that the vaporizers/warm mist humidifiers do.  However, this type of humidifier breeds bacteria, mold and mineral deposits that will disperse into the air when in use.

According to the Mayo Clinic, both warm mist and cool mist moisturize equally, and, in fact, they claim that by the time the mist reaches the lower airway, it's the same temperature regardless.  Cool mist humidifiers are also cheaper. 

Ok, so now that the basics are understood-when does one need to be used?

Well, a good time to use one is in the winter when colds are very common.   You could also use a humidifier if the moisture level in your home is low.  By adding a humidifier you can increase the moisture in any room-ideal humidity is 35-40%.  However, you have to be careful to not have excessive moisture, which can increase dust mites.  Also, if furniture, or drapes, or linens, etc are getting damp due to the moisture, that will breed mold.

Wow-I'm so glad I researched this and learned some facts!

All information was taken from:

Babycenter.com
everydayhealth.com
ehow.com
coldflu.about.com

   


1 comment:

  1. I have a cool-mist and haven't used it at all this winter because I seriously haven't had a second to find the instructions on how to clean the darn thing (since I knew about the bacteria). I feel like a chicken-with-their-head-chopped-off all day long so the humidifier is the last thing on my mind, LOL! But I did buy a diffuser to diffuse essential oils into the air. I think if I were to get another humidifier I'd get warm-mist and put it where kids can't touch it.

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